Fox's 'Idol' tops ABC's 'Dancing' in Tues. battle


NEW YORK -- "American Idol" won Tuesday night's battle of the reality series against ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" finale but "Dancing" threw a big wrench into the premiere of the Mark Burnett-Steven Spielberg summer film competition "On the Lot."

With the penultimate episode of "American Idol," Fox kept the winning hand Tuesday in adults 18-49 but two-hour finale of "Dancing with the Stars" powered ABC to victory in viewership for the night. "American Idol" (24.5 million, 9.3 rating/27 share in adults 18-49) was the night's top show in the key demographics, according to preliminary estimates released Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research.

"Idol" was down 24% in the demo compared to the penultimate episode last year and down 3%, although it would likely make up some of that ground when the final national ratings are released later Wednesday. But the big wheel between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. was "Dancing with the Stars" (22.7 million, 6.6/17), which crowned a winner and overshadowed everything else in primetime including the long-awaited "On the Lot" (9 million, 4.1/10). "Dancing with the Stars" peaked at 10 p.m. with 23.5 million viewers and a 7.0/18 before settling down slightly in its last half hour. It was, however, the lowest-rated "Dancing with the Stars" finale and down 7%
compared to last fall's finale.

"On the Lot," on the other hand, fell from 11.3 million at 9 p.m. to 6.7 million at 9:30 p.m. NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (10.2 million, 4.1/10) outperformed the CBS movie "Jesse Stone" (13 million, 2.5/6) in adults 18-49. Nightly averages: ABC (17.8 million, 5.3/14); CBS (13.3 million, 2.8/7); NBC (7.5 million, 2.7/7); Fox (16.7 million, 6.7/18); and The CW (2 million, 0.8/2).